Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School made the decision to cancel the senior prom this week, a decision that Superintendent Roger Forget said was not made lightly.
He said that current state guidelines limit gatherings to 100 people and that the senior class has 180 students. That figure does not include any dates who are not members of the class.
“We certainly didn’t want to say that it’s first come, first-served, and limit the number for the class because that’s not very fair,” Mr. Forget said.
The event was going to be held at The Ridge Club in Sandwich, but Mr. Forget said the indoor venue was not conducive to any sort of social distancing.
Alternatives, such as a tent rental outdoors, were also looked at. Mr. Forget said none of the other options that were explored have been feasible in terms of cost or in terms of staying within state guidelines.
School administrators have not given up on finding other solutions and ways to celebrate the senior class. Mr. Forget added that graduation is still planned to happen on time, under a tent, in person, on Sunday, June 6.
“We’re being proactive in light of everything that’s going on,” he said, citing increasing rates of COVID-19 infections on Cape Cod as well as the fact that students on athletics teams such as hockey and girls’ soccer have had to quarantine due to exposure. “We did not want to put our senior class or their families in harm’s way.”
Mr. Forget said that while the decision is not popular, the school administration felt it was better to be proactive and cancel early than to wait until the last minute and cancel after families have spent money on gowns, tuxedoes and other prom expenses.
He said that many of the school’s seniors feel as though they are getting the short end of the stick—and he agrees with them. Still, he feels it is better at this time to err on the side of caution.
While the state has opened up to allow limited dancing at weddings, he questioned how couples would even be able to dance together at a prom.
“I would feel terrible if we had it and had a huge outbreak amongst students,” he said.
At least one Upper Cape town district is still planning to hold the iconic event. For Sandwich High School, a senior prom is currently planned for Saturday, May 29, though the details of that event are currently being worked out and finalized.